SAJITH PREMADASA | Daily News


 

SAJITH PREMADASA

Sajith Premadasa, the candidate of the UNP-led New Democratic Front (NDF) is the present Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister.

He is the son of the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa and former First Lady Hema Premadasa. Born on January 12, 1967, he is one of the youngest candidates (age 52) to contest a Presidential election.

Sajith studied at S.Thomas Preparatory College, Colombo and Royal College, Colombo prior to sitting for his Ordinary (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) examination at Mill Hill School, London, where he won the A/L prize for politics, a harbinger of things to come. He also played in the First XI cricket team at Mill Hill, captaining the side in 1986.

He studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of London, where his degree covered economics, politics and international relations. He then moved to the USA to study at the University of Maryland and complete an internship at the US Senate where he met many eminent US politicians including John Kerry.

It was during this period that his father,former President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated (May 1, 1993) in Colombo and young Sajith (aged 26) returned to Sri Lanka to be with this mother Hema Premadasa and sister Dulanjalie.

He entered politics the very next year, foregoing his father’s Colombo Central electorate for remote and impoverished Hambantota, the bastion of future President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sajith Premadasa entered Parliament in 2000 polling the highest number of preferential votes in Hambantota and the highest preference vote percentage of the whole country.

He would defend his seat at all future elections by record margins. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Health when the UNP assumed office a year later. He would later become the Minister of Housing and Construction. From Hambantota, he initiated several people-oriented programmes such as Jana Suwaya, Tharuna Saviya and Sasunata Arana.

Sajith was appointed Deputy Leader of the UNP in 2011.After the 2015 General Election, Sajith was appointed housing minister and revived the Gam Udawa housing programme started by his father with the aim of achieving Shelter for All by 2025.

Nearly 250 Uda Gam have since been vested with the public.

Although there was initially a three-way tussle for the candidature in the UNP, on September 26, 2019, the Working committee of UNP unanimously decided on Sajith Premadasa as their candidate, who will contest under the ‘Swan’ symbol.

This is the first time in 14 years that the UNP is fielding its own candidate. His manifesto for the presidential election has been titled “Forward Together”.

 

 

 


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